UNK students helping Buffalo Co. Historical Society with archives

 By SARA GIBONEY
UNK Communications

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney students will discover the value of archiving historical materials.

The Museums and Archives class is working to archive materials and artifacts at the Buffalo County Historical Society through the Caring for Our Collection project.

“When you think about caring for a collection, you want to make sure it’s organized in a way that is user friendly and intuitive,” said Jinny Turman, assistant professor of history at UNK. “These are fragile documents that tie into the community identity. It’s also important to have an organized and efficient way to reduce theft and damage.”

Mary Ellen Ducey
Mary Ellen Ducey

Mary Ellen Ducey, associate professor and university archivist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is acting as a consultant for the project. She will be on the UNK campus Wednesday through Friday.

Ducey will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Frank House about the value of archives.

“We have very limited resources with money and staffing,” said Jen Murrish, executive director of the Buffalo County Historical Society. “It’s great that we have someone who is experienced helping us out.”

The BCHS is currently working to raise $3.1 million to construct a new Family History Center on the Trails and Rails Museum grounds. The center will feature enhanced displays and improved access to its historical materials and archives.

“We’ve never done this before. We’ve never had a brand new building. We’re so spread out with our archives. We have things tucked in every nook and cranny,” Murrish said.

“It’s mutually beneficial to have students working on this and taking information with them.”

Some of the artifacts and materials that will be archived include records, materials from the county courthouse, court records, thousands of photos, family files, school records, books, maps and newspapers.

“The nice thing is it’s a hands-on responsibility for students. It’s a good experience for them to have to think about how to plan long term, handle delicate materials, develop a relationship with an organization and develop practical skills for the job market,” Turman said.

The project is sponsored by Humanities Nebraska.

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Source: Jinny Turman, 308.865.8900, turmanja@unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu

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